In San Jose, Ca., I Saw A Fuel Cell Powered Transit Bus

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Eightball, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Eightball
    Offline

    Eightball Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,359
    Thanks Received:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +252
    I live in San Jose, Calif., and just the other day while driving home, I saw a county transit bus that looked a little different from the norm. It had a higher roofline, as the roof appeared to be thicker than a normal bus. It had "fuel cell powered" painted on it. Anyway, I noticed that as it was driving through an intersection at perpendicular to me that little "puffs" of steam or vapor would exit out of the roof about 2/3rds down from the front of the bus. The steam or water vapor or something-vapor didn't exit constantly, but came out intermittently; maybe every few seconds, and just a short little puff.

    I assume that the vapor/steam has something to do with the fuel cell powered system's exhaust?
    Anyway, have any of you folks seen anything similar to this where you live or on your travels?

    I'll wager that this bus is prohibitively expensive, and couldn't come near paying for itself in passenger faire revenues without massive government subsidizing.

    Any fuel cell powerplant experts out there that would tell me about the vapor or steam coming out the roof area?
     
  2. glockmail
    Offline

    glockmail BANNED

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    7,700
    Thanks Received:
    433
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    The beautiful Yadkin Valley
    Ratings:
    +438
    Water is the byproduct of hydrogen consumption, so the steam had to be water vapor. The conversion process is probably a higher temperature, so it comes out as steam. Never seen it here, but a lot uf municipal vehicles are running on propane, which is a simple conversion to a gas engine.
     
  3. manu1959
    Offline

    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    13,761
    Thanks Received:
    1,625
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    california
    Ratings:
    +1,626
  4. Emmett
    Offline

    Emmett Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    557
    Thanks Received:
    101
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Murrayville, Ga
    Ratings:
    +101
    My guess was that it was battery/electrical cell powered. The puffs you saw could have been the restart of the gas engine as it was accelerating. :eusa_think:

    Did you notice if the engine exhaust had a sound of normal or how it changed when the puffs happened. You could probably figure it out like that. Also, smell! I've seen some strange looking bus creatures in Dallas lately but I'm sure what they are up to either. I haven;t been able to get close to one while stopped or anything.

    Could be a solar transfer cell. ///??????????????????????????????????????
     
  5. glockmail
    Offline

    glockmail BANNED

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    7,700
    Thanks Received:
    433
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    The beautiful Yadkin Valley
    Ratings:
    +438
    Maybe it was that old guy in the back seat smoking a pipe.
     
  6. Eightball
    Offline

    Eightball Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,359
    Thanks Received:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +252
    Emmett: The big old lettering on the side of the bus's roof said, Fuel Cell Powered.....or something very close to that. There was nothing about it being hybrid.
     
  7. Eightball
    Offline

    Eightball Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,359
    Thanks Received:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +252
    I found this article at our local transit authorities web site.
    ********
    Zero-Emission Bus Demonstration Program
    News Releases
    Frequently Asked Questions
    VTA Emissions Reductions Program
    [​IMG]



    Zero-emission bus at hydrogen fueling facility

    Overview:
    In February 2000, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a new regulation to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emitted by public transit buses. In December 2000, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's (VTA) Board of Directors formally adopted the low-emission diesel path as its approach for complying with CARB's regulation. A number of other public transit operators in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Metropolitan Area took similar action, including the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans). VTA has elected to demonstrate hydrogen fuel-cell technology in a joint effort with SamTrans.

    A fuel-cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen fuel and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. The electricity produced powers the buses. The major benefits of fuel-cell technology include:


    Reducing dependence on fossil fuels
    Reducing greenhouse gases
    Improving air quality
    Improving health and quality of life, particularly in densely populated urban areas.
    [​IMG]


    Ballard fuel-cell

    Program Summary
    VTA and SamTrans operate three 40-foot, low-floor, hydrogen fuel-cell buses as part of the Zero-Emission Bus Demonstration Program. VTA is the lead agency in the operation of these buses and SamTrans shares in the capital and operating costs. The test program consists of facility modifications and installation of a hydrogen fueling station at VTA's Cerone Operations Division, as well as training for VTA and SamTrans personnel on the new technology.

    The key funding partners in the Zero-Emission Bus Demonstration Program are the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Department of Energy (DOE), SamTrans, and VTA. With this investment, the funding partners aim is to explore the feasibility of using zero-emission fuel-cell technology buses in everyday mass transit service with the overall goals of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gases, improving air quality, and lastly improving the health and quality of life in our communities.

    Buses:
    Three low-floor fuel-cell buses with standard equipment including air conditioning, ramp for ADA accessibility, destination signs and an audio annunciation system.
    Bus Manufacturer: Gillig Corporation
    Fuel-Cell Manufacturer: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    System Integrator: Ballard Power Systems Inc. in conjunction with the
    Gillig Corporation
    Fuel: Compressed Hydrogen supplied by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.


    Click on the following link to view how a fuel-cell works: www.cafcp.org/fuel-vehl

    Facilities:
    The buses operate from the VTA Cerone Operations Division located at Zanker Road and State Route 237 in San Jose. This location is equipped with a separate hydrogen fueling facility supplied by Air Products. Fuel is stored in liquid form for efficient storage and dispensing. Two maintenance bays have been built to properly maintain the buses. The bays include hydrogen detection and other safety systems.



    Program Funding Sources
    $18.4 million: $6 million from 2000 Measure A Local Sales Tax, $6 million from San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), $5.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), $0.3 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC), and $1 million from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).

    The program budget is $18,450,000. This includes:
    Buses $10,565,000
    Facilities $ 3,103,000
    Labor and Services $ 2,900,000
    Contingency/Operating Cost $ 1,882,000




    Schedule
    Fuel-cell bus delivery: August 2004
    Transit service began: February 2005

    How to Reach Us
    For more information on the Zero-Emission Bus Demonstration Program, or other VTA projects, call VTA Community Outreach at (408) 321-7575, TDD for the hearing impaired (408) 321-2330, or visit us on the web at www.vta.org.

    For more information on fuel-cell technology, please visit the California Fuel-cell Partnership website at www.fuelcellpartnership.org.
     
  8. BaronVonBigmeat
    Offline

    BaronVonBigmeat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,185
    Thanks Received:
    160
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +160
    I've seen pictures of natural gas powered buses, where there are two long tanks on the roof, I guess that would explain the higher roofline, since a H2 vehicle needs even bigger tanks.

    Speaking of which, most plans for switching over to hydrogen call for H2 made from natural gas. So we're still putting the same CO2 into the air basically. A fuel cell is more efficient than an engine running off CNG, but only if you ignore the energy it took to manufacture the H2 to begin with.

    Two solutions, both clean, one is simple and cheap and the other isn't. Why are we ignoring CNG exactly?
     
  9. glockmail
    Offline

    glockmail BANNED

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    7,700
    Thanks Received:
    433
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    The beautiful Yadkin Valley
    Ratings:
    +438
    Its ignored because its not sexy, or possibly to advance H2 vehicles so we can someday tell the envoronuts to SHUT UP and build 500 nuke plants, eliminating all petro imports, and make the H2 with excess electricity.
     
  10. Darwins Friend
    Offline

    Darwins Friend Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    181
    Thanks Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +17
    Hydrogen power is wonderful. It’s the storage and manifold control of that magical fuel that creates great pain – in reality. The fuel’s molecules – being smaller than most anything – leak out and disappear.
     

Share This Page